Reforms in Planning Deptt

Belatedly in 2016 the State Government woke up to the necessity of bringing major changes in the structure and functioning of the Planning and Development Department. Unsatisfactory delivery of the department particularly in regard to developmental projects sponsored either by the Centre or by State has prompted the Government to look into the faults lying with the Planning Department. After due deliberations focused on the objective in sight, the Government in 2016 accorded sanction to re-orientation of the Department which would henceforth be known as Planning, Development and Monitoring Department. Its new divisions would be: Development Strategy; Project Formulation; Area Planning; Project Monitoring and Evaluation and Coordination.  Evidently Area Planning and Project Monitoring divisions are the most important to which attention needs to be focused.
However, though a year and half has gone by when the reorientation of the Department was announced, yet the none of the divisions has received sufficient manpower that would enable them to complete the tasks allotted to them. This is owing to apathetic attitude of the Government towards the vital decisions taken in the State Cabinet. Normally, the Cabinet decision should receive the highest priority for implementation but regrettably that is not the case. This is not the first time that aparticular department has failed to seriously address the follow up action of a Cabinet decision.
Another equally important matter broadly pertaining to the manpower issue of the Department is that of the cadre review of Jammu and Kashmir Economics and Statistics Gazetted and Non-Gazetted Services. The previous review was conducted nine years ago and ever since stagnation has crept into these cadres making them rather stagnate and thus unproductive. Under the existing rules cadre review has to take place after three years but during nine years no review has been taken. The result is that stagnation has over taken the cadres both gazetted and non-gazetted in the organization. Cadre review is not needed only to encourage the lower cadres to move upwards, it is also taken into account the manpower that is needed in view of the growth in educational qualifications and capacities of the youth which naturally demands that the rules governing their recruitment and promotion etc should be commensurate with the social requirements of the times. The re-oriented department is given the mandate to work out a comprehensive long term development strategy and take steps to address development challenges and concerns in the medium term and short term requirements; finalize a comprehensive Public Expenditure Policy; implement announcements/ commitments of the Chief Minister; implement decisions taken by the District Development Boards and other related matters. The situation on the ground is that no initiative is being taken for the review of the cadres and the paucity of manpower continues to remain as it was all these years. Naturally all this has adverse impact on the overall development of the State. Our planning and monitoring remain handicapped in many ways. In the year 2011 the Government made rationalization in the gazetted cadre service by re-deployment of the various posts of Joint Directors, Deputy Directors and Assistant Directors of the J&K Economics and Statistics Organization in various departments. Thus in nutshell, the Government shall have to address the two issues simultaneously. The first issue is of providing adequate manpower to the Planning Department’s divisions so as to make them fully functional. The second thing to do is to order cadre review of J&K Economics and Statistics Organization. The two steps taken together are hopefully conducive to the economic growth and meeting the growth targets set forth in the projects under implementation.